by Nick Archacki, staff writer
On Oct. 23 and 24, senior Ryan Peters and junior Will Phelan competed at the PIAA State Individual Golf Championships at Heritage Hills Golf Resort in York, Pa.. In the event, the Panther duo came up short of the state title. Peters tied for ninth place, shooting a two-day total of 156. He finished nine strokes behind the winner, and Phelan tied for twenty-eighth place with a two-day total of 169.
Their journey to states started at the District 10 Individual Championships on Oct. 7-8 at Meadville Country Club as four Panthers had qualified for the event. The golfers were Peters, senior Michael Costello, Phelan, and sophomore Nick Archacki. Costello and Archacki did not qualify for states. Peters carded a score of 73 and Phelan came in with an 82, advancing them to the next day of competition.
Peters and Phelan were in comfortable position to advance to Regionals after their first day totals. Surprisingly though, Coach Brian Hanley witnessed something that was very special and unexpected in his words, as Peters was on a charge to win his first District 10 title. “He wanted to win. I could tell,” said Hanley in an interview with The Meadville Tribune. “The demeanor that I saw in him today was something I haven’t seen in him for four years (coaching the team). I saw him throw his tee into the weeds at one point. That’s not typical for him at all.”
Peters snatched the D10 Individual title away from North East’s Alec Hite by two strokes with a two-day total of 150 (73-77). As for Phelan, he shot back-to-back 82s, placing seventh in the tournament to move onto Regionals with his fellow Panther teammate.
On Oct. 16, the Panthers competed in the PIAA Western Regionals Championships at Tom’s Run Golf Resort in Blairsville. Peters was brilliant in his round, shooting a 75, placing second in the event that would be the final step in advancing to states. For Phelan, he got much more than what he bargained for. The junior was the final cut number tied for third place with an 85. Then he had to compete in a four hole playoff frenzy to win his spot for states. Phelan did not disappoint when he needed it most as he advanced to the state finals for his first time by winning the playoff. “I was extremely excited for Will when he won the playoff,” said Hanley. Seniors Peters and Michael Costello said that they’ve never seen Coach Hanley so fired up before in their lives as when Will won his spot for states.
On Oct. 23-24, Peters and Phelan were once again at a familiar golf course to compete for a state title at the Heritage Hills Golf Resort where they competed in 2015-16’ at the PIAA State Team Championships. Peters shot a total of 156 (76-80) placing in ninth and Phelan shot a total of 169 (85-84) placing in twenty-eighth. Disappointed with his finishing holes in his final round, Peters was still impressed with how he did as he won his second straight state individual medal, placing eighth and ninth in back-to-back years. “I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to improve from last year’s eighth place finish. It’s still pretty cool to get a medal, and I will definitely look back on this as a learning experience,” said Peters. Coach Hanley said, “I was really pleased with Will finishing tied for twenty-eighth at states. Ryan finished ninth, which is awesome, but I knew he wanted to win it because he has worked so hard as a player, so I felt bad for him.”